The Kingdom K1

Sooner or later, the Kingdom will have to turn their back on concept albums. Their previous EP, Unitas, envisaged late NFL great Johnny Unitas as a cosmic dispenser of justice while their debut album, K1, tells the tale of an epic race from Albany to New York. Fortunately casual listeners might not even notice that there’s something greater than the sum of its parts going on because singer Charles Westmoreland writes songs that can simply be enjoyed without really understanding what is hidden just below the surface. There’s no denying that the Kingdom are one of those bands that the word "quirky” is inevitably assigned to. And for some, Westmoreland’s vocals could be a stumbling block because of his natural falsetto and skill for over-enunciating words but there are only a few moments when he really overdoes things and even then, it is but a fleeting thing. Or to put it another way, they aren’t too quirky — just enough to make them stand out from the crowd. K1 is probably not going to make any "Best of 2006” lists, but there is definitely something of note happening here. It might be Westmoreland’s surreal lyrics or the band’s interesting mix of piano, trumpet, violin and guitar, but this is a very refreshing change from the norm. (Arena Rock)